Last year, when we went shopping for a new house in the Houston-Metro area, one of the most culturally diverse cities in the nation, we knew that we wanted to live somewhere, where we could "do life" with our neighbors. Previously, we had lived in the suburbs of southeast Phoenix, in a nice middle class neighborhood in Chandler. There we felt shut off from our neighbors, as they shut their garage doors. There was no way that we were going back to that lifestyle. Now, we were on a hunt where we could live in community with people of different races, backgrounds, and life experiences, somewhere our kids could learn what sparing and sharing was all about. This desire led us to look within the inner city and the old 'wards' of downtown Houston. Eventually, to our dismay, we had to widen our search. The wards were just too dangerous for our growing family of six. We "settled" into a quaint neighborhood on the southwest side of Houston proper, vowing that "one day" we would be able to move inward. For months, I was in anguish over our decision. Everyone on our block had cars, and everyone had garage doors (to shut). For the first couple of months, when I talked to my justice minded friends, I would always feel a bit ashamed, that we couldn't make the plunge, and that we had to settle with Braeburn Valley, which is really just an inner ring suburb that has a Houston address. Then it got a bit cooler in Houston, and pretty soon our little cul-de-sac on Del Rey Ln. sprung to life.
I am happy to say that I no longer feel ashamed of my address. I know each one of my neighbors, (who are very diverse) and we are learning to do life together. Each week we gather for a family meal, a potluck of sorts. It's a bit awkward at times, but it's community.
The fact of the matter is, that we are called to do community, wherever we live. Even though I would rather hang out with physically needy people, God has me on Del Rey Ln. for a reason. And just because it's not where I feel the hippest and most radical, it's where He wants us for now.